Lebedik is a family of collaborations by Sasha Lurje and Craig Judelman exploring various facets of Yiddish song. Joined by some of the best musicians in their field, they travel with the songs from Eastern Europe to the West, From the Old World to the New and explore the transformations that they experience on the way.
How Yiddish song traveled to America
Lebedik Yankee is a new project from one of the worlds foremost Yiddish singers, Sasha Lurje (Latvia) and klezmer/bluegrass violinist Craig Judelman (USA), which explores the journey of Yiddish songs from Eastern Europe to America. Based in Berlin, the musicians bring their own special relationship to the songs, drawing equally from the traditions of the old world and the new. Together they have been captivating European and American audiences with this new program and they are thrilled to be joined by legend of the klezmer low end, Mark Rubin(New Orleans) as well as Pacific Northwest roots music favorite, Matt Sircely.
Eastern European Jewish immigrants flocked to the new world in the late 19th century, bringing their songs and stories with them. The songs born from this new Yiddish American culture - and They tell of the emancipation of women, the growth of the labor movement, the dangers of war and of course, love. In this special program of rarely heard songs collected from old recordings and transcriptions, the artists continue where the old recordings left off, letting their various influences and intuitions take over. The result is a repertoire that is simultaneously deeply traditional yet brand new and accessible to all audiences. The natural amalgamation of Eastern European and American instruments and idioms gives the songs a powerful sense of timelessness and universality. At a time when politicians exploit and fuel our sense of difference, this message could not be more relevant the older ones that survived the journey - offer unique insights into their personal and generational experiences.
migration, diaspora, catastrophes and dreams
Jewish history has always involved migration, it has never had a culture that only existed in one place. People have moved around and lived in different lands, always dreaming of another part of the world. Living in diaspora (goles), Jews dreamt of the promised land in Israel and the golden land of the American dream. They carried this weight- schlepping goles, through their travels and the longing and displacement of their lives are retold in the songs.
Based in Berlin this new project by an international trio rekindles the songs and stories of our migrations, looking to our art and heritage for a context to the challenges so many immigrants and refugees face in our world today. The musicians in the band come from three homes for Yiddish music: Sasha Lurje is a singer from Latvia, Craig Judelman is a fiddler from the USA and Ira Shiran is an accordionist from Israel.
Together they explore the transformations of Yiddish music, from the Shtetls of the Old World through its journey to the city, and the new lands of America and Israel. Retracing the steps of our ancestors through the songs that sustained them, this program makes sure that this tradition remains lebedik - alive and lively!
Sasha Lurje is one of the leading voices in the contemporary Yiddish scene and has performed and taught at numerous festivals in Europe and America. Growing up speaking Slavic and Baltic languages, she brings a unique ‘old world’ perspective to the repertoire and is internationally renowned as one of the foremost specialists in Yiddish lyrical songs and ballads.
Craig Judelman grew up in Seattle, studying violin and folk music from around the world from a young age. He currently performs with Litvakus, one of the only klezmer bands devoted to Litvak music, music from the northern European region of Jewish settlement.
All the Lebedik collaborators are the finest musicians in their fields. Here are our friends and colleagues we have the pleasure to share the stage with.